The Ibrahim Index of African Governance


The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is a comprehensive ranking of African countries according to governance quality. Funded and led by an African institution, the Ibrahim Index aims to be Africa’s leading assessment of governance that informs and empowers citizens to hold their governments and public institutions to account. Thus we hope to stimulate debate in a constructive way and establish a framework for good governance in Africa.

The Ibrahim Index measures the delivery of public goods and services to citizens by government and non-state actors. The Ibrahim Index uses indicators across four main pillars: Safety and Rule of Law; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development as proxies for the quality of the processes and outcomes of governance.

The Ibrahim Index assesses governance against 84 criteria, making it the most comprehensive collection of qualitative and quantitative data that measures governance in Africa. The criteria are divided into four main categories and 13 sub-categories. The indicators that make up the sub-categories are based either on official data (OD) or expert assessment (EA).

The 2012 Index of African Governance (IIAG) has been launched in London. This is the sixth year in which governance outcomes in Africa have been measured, looking at both country and regional performances across four major categories -Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development – and 88 component indicators. Once again, the data point to some important findings that can assist leaders and citizens in their decision-making processes. The 2012 IIAG confirms that governance progress has been achieved since 2000. There have been positive trends in 11 out of the 14 sub-categories, including all sub-categories within the Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development categories. The other categories, Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights have registered declines. However improvements were seen in the sub-categories National Security and Gender. Interestingly, at the indicator level, the most progress appears in Cross-Border Tensions, Core International Human Rights Conventions, Legislation on Violence against Women, Ratio of External Debt Service to Exports, Digital Connectivity and Anti-Retroviral Treatment Provision. The largest declines have been registered in Workers’ Rights, Safety of the Person and Transfers of Power. It is encouraging to note that the Millennium Development Goals have undoubtedly contributed to the improvement of the Human Development category. The post-MDG framework now has the potential to make similar improvements across the full package of expected goods and services that citizens have the right to expect. From 2000 to 2011, seven countries have demonstrated a significant improvement in their overall governance score: Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. One country, Madagascar, has significantly declined. Over the last six years, Tanzania has climbed up the IIAG’s rankings, making it into the top ten for the first time. Angola, Liberia and Togo have left the IIAG’s group of the ten worst performers. They have been replaced by Eritrea, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria.

However, while governance continues to improve in many countries, some of Africa’s regional powerhouses – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – have shown unfavourable governance performance since 2006. All four countries have declined in both Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights, with particularly noticeable declines in the Participation sub-category. Nigeria, West Africa’s powerhouse, has for the first time this year fallen into the bottom ten governance performers on the continent. This imbalance in performance between the four categories of the IIAG – with Sustainable Economic Development and Human Development scoring better than Safety & Rule of Law and Participation & Human Rights – was highlighted in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the IIAG, when Egypt, Libya and Tunisia stood out as cases in point. This characteristic remains an important concern. Over the last six years almost half of the 52 African countries register increased imbalance between the four categories. Five of the six most imbalanced countries belong to North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Swaziland rounds up this list. Not only does North Africa remain the most imbalanced region in Africa, it has also experienced the greatest regional governance deterioration since 2006.

The Foundation continues to advocate addressing the paucity of African data and the need for statistical autonomy within African countries. This is a leadership and governance issue. Good governance is about harnessing a country’s resources to achieve the results any citizen living in the 21st century has a right to expect. One of Africa’s biggest challenges going forward is to master its own robust statistical system. Political sovereignty begins with data Autonomy.

Two countries, the recently reconfigured nations of Sudan and South Sudan, do not feature in the current IIAG. The data from both are still being collected and analysed and are not comprehensive enough to be included at this stage. The 2012 IIAG, therefore, only measures the other fifty-two countries in Africa.The IIAG is a collaborative effort that involves the hard work of the Foundation Research team, members of the Advisory Council, researchers in the two organisations that have become an integral part of this effort – Afrobarometer and Global Integrity Trust – and the 23 organisations that contribute data to our analysis.

How to get a copy

The summary of  the 2012 Ibrahim Index

Find out more

Visit the Ibrahim Foundation website

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